(This, by the way, will be an Alabama-Texas party. For thoughts on any other bowl games, read the following thoughts from Jerry at WBE & Michael at Braves & Birds.)
Of course, because this wouldn't really be one of my blogs without a video I shamelessly plundered from someone else, here's one of the many excellent hype youtubes (h/t: RBR).
Well, I'm sufficiently terrified. How 'bout you?
— Your standard "Alabama is taking this game seriously" article comes to you today courtesy Chris Low.
The long layoff wreaked havoc with Alabama last season, but McClain said the practices have been significantly more physical this time around as the Crimson Tide prepare for the Citi BCS National Championship Game against Texas.
Well then. Glad we settled that. To reinforce the point, Alabama even put up a curtain around its practice field. Because we don't want anyone thinking that our coaching staff is a group of paranoid egomaniacs or anything.
— For a more intelligent bit of motivation, Saban offers up the 1980 Miracle On Ice. In this analogy, Florida is the Soviet Union and Texas is Finland. But we don't have Al Michaels to do this.
— The T News — whose coverage of the lead-up to the bowl has been predictably excellent, by the way — offers a glimpse at the similarities between Mack Brown and Nick Saban, as coaching philosophies go. Which reminds me: the next time you start crying about how much coaches at that level make, read this look at the most valuable football programs in the nation. Right there at the top: Alabama and Texas. Yeah.
— Player features: Greg McElroy has become THE guy in Tuscaloosa. And for the record, if we're going to win No. 13 Thursday, he'll have to be the guy.
— Because no game like this can be played without some kind of trumped-up controversy, here's a column about how Alabama doesn't belong in the national title game (because of probation). Just to clear things up — assuming you'd read that column long enough to get yourself worked up — here's the reason she's completely wrong.
— A few off-the-field links: a 'Bama-themed float won at the Rose Bowl Parade; Bevo will challenge Big Al for "coolest mascot" this week; and the L.A. Times looks at the residual good being done by the Paul Bryant Scholarship Fund.
— Finally, a quick look at recruiting: first a cornerback committed during the Under Armour game last week; several commits may enroll early; and, the Wall Street Journal has a fallacy-filled article about "fraudulent" recruiting rankings. Thanks, guys.